Medically reviewed and approved by Nataniel Josue M.D.
Healthy, glowing skin is everyone’s desire, but some treatments do not work the same for everyone. Therefore, it is essential to know what your skin type is so that you can take care of it according to your needs. You will learn this throughout this article. How can I identify my skin type? What type of skin do I have? Well, our dermatologist explains to you how to find out:
To know what type of skin you have, you can be guided by the most common classifications: oily, dry, mixed, and normal skin. Then you must see its characteristics and compare them with those of your skin, so you will quickly identify which is your type.
You should also not forget that there are many other classifications to guide you and look for the one to which your skin belongs. I will now go deeper into the subject of skin to determine what your skin type is.
What is skin, and what are its parts?
The skin is the largest organ in the body and it protects the body from external factors such as chemicals, bacteria, and temperature. It regulates body temperature and can weigh up to 22lb (10 kg). It is composed of 2 main layers: the dermis and the epidermis, which rests on a fatty layer known as the hypodermis.
Structure of the skin.
The epidermis is the outer layer of skin that we see and touch. It is composed mostly of keratinocytes. This part of the skin protects the inner layers and contains cells that produce keratin (a substance that makes the skin waterproof and robust).
This layer protects the internal organs, nerves, muscles, and blood vessels from trauma. Within this layer, a pigment called melanin is produced, which is the cause of skin color—the epidermis filters out ultraviolet radiation from the sun that can damage DNA and cause skin cancer.
The dermis is a thin layer of fibrous and elastic tissue composed mostly of collagen, which gives the skin its flexibility and consistency.
This skin layer contains nerve endings, sweat glands, sebaceous glands, hair follicles, and blood vessels. Here I will explain the parts of the dermis:
- Sweat glands. These produce sweat when we suffer from heat or stress. As the sweat evaporates from the skin it cools the body.
- Nerve endings. These sense pain, pressure, touch, and temperature. Some areas of the body have more nerve endings than others, such as the fingers and toes.
- Sebaceous glands. These are responsible for producing sebum in the hair follicles. This is an oil that moisturizes and softens the skin and acts as a protective barrier against foreign substances.
- Blood vessels. These nourish the skin and help regulate body temperature.
The hypodermis is the deepest layer of the skin. The hypodermis contains the fat cells or adipose tissue that are in the body and helps it to conserve heat. It is composed of:
- Adipose cells.
- Special collagens.
- Blood vessels.
How do I know what type of skin I have?
Your Skin reflects your habits and lifestyle; when there is prolonged exposure to the sun, poor nutrition, sleeplessness, diseases, or lack of water, you start to see blemishes on your face. For example, when you suffer from insomnia, dark circles and bags are produced due to inadequate oxygenation and cellular repair. This can only be treated by getting enough sleep. When there is a lack of water in the body, the skin’s superficial layer dries out, making it lose its texture and flexibility little by little.
Knowing your skin type is hugely important when choosing the treatments and products needed to avoid acne or premature aging and reduce the probability of adverse reactions in the skin.
Different skin types are influenced by many factors that affect our bodies.
Classification by epidermis:
With this classification, you can know if your skin is thin or thick.
Thick skin is characterized by a thick layer of keratin and a lucid layer that is not present in thinner skin. At first glance, there are grooves and elevations due to the papillae’s disposition in the underlying dermis which is more visible in the palm and fingers, which constitute the fingerprints.
This type of skin is more prevalent in people who have a lot of exposure to the sun. Because one of its effects is hyperkeratosis, this skin’s appearance is rough, dull, and dilated pores. If your skin is thick, you will notice that it is compact and resistant when you pinch it.
Thin or fine skin
Thin skin covers the entire body except for the palm and the sole of the feet. It contains fewer sweat glands than thick skin found in these places. We can distinguish it easily by the presence of hairs and sebaceous glands.
In women, it occurs in areas of the body that are usually covered. It is characterized by a uniform surface, with few visible pores and pink and translucent color.
If you want to know if your skin is thin, an example would be to pinch the skin and almost touch it with two fingers.
Classification by dermis:
Tonic is that which presents elasticity and tension, this type of skin is typical in younger people. You realize if you have a tonic piece because when you exercise, a movement of pressure is returned immediately to its place, which means that the skin has a good elastin and collagen balance.
Flaccid skin is skin that has lost some of the elasticity and capacity to recover when it is moved from its default position. It mainly occurs in aged skins and some young people who have suffered sudden skin thinning or disease.
If your skin is loose it removes tension in the skin and it is difficult to return to its original position if you have this skin type.
Classification by lipids:
The malfunctioning of the sebaceous glands causes dry skin. They do not secrete enough sebum for the skin to protect it from water loss. This malfunction is sometimes related to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Your skin is dry if it:
- Has a thin texture.
- Is dull and sensitive.
- Has fine pores.
- Frequently displays redness.
- It presents roughness, cracks, and hyperkeratosis.
- Loses elasticity and flexibility.
- Produces less fat than is necessary to maintain elasticity from the sebaceous glands.
- Tends to wrinkle prematurely.
To treat the skin, follow these tips:
- Do not wash your face with soap and products containing alcohol.
- Use moisturizing masks.
- Drink more liquids, such as natural juices or water.
- Apply moisturizers with sunscreen, vitamin E and vitamin A, collagen and elastin, during the day and at night.
- After removing makeup and toning your skin, use a nourishing regenerating cream containing vitamin C so that the skin recovers its natural moisture.
- Carry out a constant care routine.
You may be interested in “How can I hydrate my skin naturally?“
Mixed skin combines some characteristics of normal-dry and oily skin. It tends to develop small impurities, especially in the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin), but the cheek area is usually presented as normal and dry skin.
You have mixed skin if:
- It presents a greasy glow.
- It develops impurities (open pores, sebum, blackheads) in the T-zone.
- The rest of the face has a normal appearance.
- Dilated pores predominate on the face.
In this type of skin, there is a more significant activity of the sebaceous glands and more lipids than water. This produces more shine on the forehead, nose, or perioral area.
One of the advantages of oily skin is that it remains young for longer since oil retains elasticity and makes it more resistant to wrinkles.
Among the most common causes of oily skin are genetics, hormonal changes, stress, psychosocial factors, pollution, and excess moisture. It is also influenced by diet when consuming products such as added sugars, red meat, or refined flours.
Your skin is oily if it:
- Has thick cutis with shine due to sebum.
- The pores are dilated.
- Secretes a lot of fat.
- Has pimples and blackheads frequently.
To find out if your skin is oily, wash your face with regular soap and warm water, then dry it and place a tissue on your face. If you notice that the paper has oily spots, then your skin is oily.
Treatments to improve oily skin:
- Wash and clean the face several times a day
- Instead of using a toner, use an astringent because it has a higher percentage of alcohol.
- Steam baths.
- Do not apply cleaners based on oily substances.
- Reduces intake of grease.
- Drink plenty of natural juices and fresh salads.
You may be interested in “How can I control my oily skin? 7 easy steps!“
A very bright appearance characterizes this skin due to excessive sweating caused by hormonal changes or living in places with high temperatures.
Consequently, the superficial level of the skin is hyper-hydrated, but internally it is dehydrated. It presents a pale, swollen, and macerated tone.
This hyperhydration frequently appears in people with hormonal disorders, pregnant women, premenstrual period, or climate change.
To treat this type of skin:
- Use makeup remover with detergent cosmetics and astringent properties.
- Prevent the growth of bacteria and try to restore its physiological pH.
- I recommend you try facial lymphatic drainage to decongest the area and eliminate toxins to avoid fluid retention.
- Apply fat-free creams that have active ingredients such as mint, rosemary, and pine.
This type of skin looks typical in terms of the natural moisture and humidity expected. The oil layer is light and does not give an oily glow to the skin, and it usually has no impurities.
Eudermic skin is typically present in children and young people, and it is flexible and resistant.
Being dehydrated is a temporary state of the skin, which can affect both dry and oily skin. Any skin can become dehydrated at some point in time due to external factors such as aggressive cosmetics, extreme temperatures, intake of some medicines, stress, lack of humidity in the environment, or prolonged exposure to the sun.
Dehydrated skin is characterized by:
- It does not glow.
- Flaking and itching of the skin.
- Wrinkles appear due to premature aging.
- Tightness in the skin.
- Stretch marks appear on the face, abdomen, and body.
To treat dehydrated skin:
- Drink plenty of water.
- Try to maintain humidity using a room humidifier.
- Apply moisturizing cream when you get out of the shower so that the skin is kept hydrated.
- Classification by sensitivity.
Atopic skin is characterized by dryness of the skin, which results in scaling and irritation, causing itching. It affects 10% of the population.
Symptoms to diagnose this type of skin:
- The skin feels dry, scaly, rough, red, and itchy.
- There are usually rashes on the inside of the elbows and behind the knees. These rashes can also extend to other areas such as the face, neck, hands, and feet.
To treat it:
- Moisturize the skin of the face and body daily, with special creams for atopic skin. I recommend keeping the cream in the refrigerator as the coldness will help relieve the itching.
- Use soaps with a neutral PH.
- The clothes you use should be 100% cotton, wool, and synthetic fibers. When washing them, rinse them twice to remove the remains of detergents, without using fabric softener.
- Showers must be short and with warm water.
- Finally, stay away from stress because it is a factor that predisposes you to the appearance of new outbreaks.
You may be interested in “What triggers atopic dermatitis? Everything you need to know.“
This type of skin reacts aggressively to environmental factors such as wind, cold, heat, sun, or sudden temperature changes. These factors can produce a burning sensation, itching, redness, or a feeling of warmth.
Sensitive skin is any type of dry, oily, or mixed skin, which has a rapid, exaggerated, an extreme reaction to products or situations, compared to normal skin.
Its presence is triggered by external factors such as exposure to irritating substances in cosmetics, environmental factors such as cold, heat, wind, and psychological factors such as stress.
Your skin is sensitive if it presents the following symptoms:
To avoid these problems:
- Use products designed for sensitive skin, cosmetics that have alpha-hydroxy acids, tretinoin, or retinol.
- Moisturize your skin. This advice is even more critical when you are in an air-conditioned or hot environment. Try to moisturize several times a day.
- Avoid rubbing your skin.
- Always use photoprotection when you are exposed to the sun.
You may be interested in “How can I treat my sensitive skin at home?“
Classification by oxygenation.
With this type of skin, the excess sebum is not expelled correctly because the pores are dirty. When the pores are obstructed, points of fat or water form, generally in the cheek area and the contour of the eyes.
Devitalized skin undergoes various physiological changes due to stress, poor nutrition, or an incorrect cleansing routine. The symptoms are; loss of luminosity, roughness, lack of hydration, the appearance of new wrinkles, or deepening of existing ones.
By knowing your skin type, you will be able to provide the special care that your skin needs. You will be able to keep your body looking good.
You will also be free of any aggressive reaction that your skin may have when receiving products that are not suitable and harmful to them. As you may have noticed, there are not only oily, dry, or mixed skins. There are also different types according to their composition and the external factors that influence them.